In some countries sidewalks remain reserved for pedestrians. E-peds or e-scooters are prohibited. This is the result of a questionnaire by the International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP). Prof. Mario Alves of the University of Lisbon, Portugal, is the Secretary General of this organization. He presented his findings at the Walk21 congress in Rotterdam. Cities all over the world are facing a 'tsunami' of 'micromobility': electric scooters, self-propelled skate boards and more.
Tolerate or take away
Countries deal differently with the approval or prohibition of new forms of travel, Alves researched. These are often presented, without evidence, as 'sustainable'. Sometimes e-peds are only allowed on the road or on the cycle path, often they also ride on sidewalks, giving walkers a real unsafe feeling. In the UK and The Netherlands they are prohibited.
Toys for rich boys
Enforcement of rules is a problem in many countries, says the scientist. "Prevent a situation where everyone is fighting for space. A war between modes but can never be the intention, can it?" These new ways of transportation also pose another question. Are these new wheels mainly 'Toys for rich boys'? Often around eighty percent of the users are young men on high incomes.
No less driving
In Europe, most riders would have walked or cycled otherwise. In the US, a higher percentage of rides replace taxi or public transport. However, reliable data is still lacking. In Brussels, a government agency currently estimates the number of e-peds at 4,000. The numbers and negative effects are increasing. Alves points out that thse problems are becoming more acute: "In a city like Bogota a year ago, when e-scooters were introduced, there were no problems. Now voices are increasing that they bring unsafety and nuisance".